QUICK GUIDE TO SAND RECOVERY OFFROAD
Sand is one of the most challenging terrains to drive on, especially in a heavy 4WD which could get bogged down at any moment. This is why it is imperative to arm yourself with the knowledge of how to perform a safe and successful sand-recovery before driving on the difficult surface. The wrong technique or slightest mistake could result in your vehicle slipping deeper into the sand and the situation becoming even bleaker.
PREVENTION IS THE BEST RECOVERY
Before you even set off, make sure you have prepared your 4WD for the sand. Adjust your tyre pressures to give you a wider surface area. Taking measures to prevent yourself getting stuck is the best form of recovery.
IF IT IS GOING DOWN, STOP
A lot of experienced 4WDers still don’t follow this simple concept. If you are going down, stop driving and start making preparations to carry out a recovery. Continuing to spin your wheels in the sand is only going to dig you in further and make the recovery more difficult. The first step of any recovery is acknowledging you are stuck and just getting on with it.
WHAT DO YOU NEED
If you are going to be driving on sand, I recommend you take some precautions and pack some items that will help you get unstuck in a pickle. Bring a snatch strap (this should be on all of your off-road excursions anyway). You will also need your traction-aid mat. There are heaps of brands of these but any traction aid will do the job.
Clear some of the sand out in front of your tyres. Use a shovel or, if you left home without one, use the traction-aid mats.
When you have cleared the sand out from the first 2 feet in front of your tyres, jam the mats under the tyres so that they are at a 45-degree angle pointing upwards. This angle will help the tyres get traction and give you the momentum to get out of the divot and back onto firmer sand.
Make sure you throw the traction mats back into your car before you head off.
IF IT STILL ISN’T WORKING
You can drop the tyre pressure to single digits in an emergency situation. This might be the boost you need to help you crawl out of the hole. Making the contact patch longer will give you some help. Just remember to inflate the tyres as soon as you are free so you don’t do any damage to the tyre or wheel.
Sand can be tricky but once you master the sand recovery, you will be able to drive on it with more confidence, secure in the knowledge that you can get out if all goes south. All that remains is to throw your rod in the back and drive out to your favourite beach fishing spots.
Do you have any tips for performing a sand recovery? Leave them in the comments section below.